Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Watching Events Unfold In New Atlantis

Nice to see the President cut his vacation short by two days so that he can get to the business of trying to save New Orleans. As of this evening the Mayor of New Orleans has declared martial law and directed the police to protect the city from looters (hopefully without clumsy orders to "shoot looters on sight"), in addition to the monumental task of rescuing survivors. On a positive note, he now has a valid excuse to not have that coffee klatsch with Cindy Sheehan.

The sight of looters on Nightline last night was appalling. What good do they think all those new clothes, electronics, and other material items are gonna do in a city that has faces a rising health epidemic. Guess a well dressed corpse is better than one without clothing at all. Dysentery is just the beginning. Wait until the bodies of the deceased begin to decompose in the floodwater

Personally I'm surprised that some evangelical nutjob hasn't positioned himself in front of a camera and said that Katrina was God's way of punishing New Orleans- or America- for its sinful secularist lifestyle. They all seem to trip over themselves to be the first whenever one of these natural disasters hits a developing or impoverished nation where Christianity isn't the primary religion.

Then again the Mississippi Gulf Coast was hit hardest, so maybe this is God's way of telling the folks in Jesusland to stop blurring the separation of church and state; to stop lobbying for the teaching of "intelligent design" in public schools; to stop praying for the deaths of every Supreme Court justice not named Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas; to not advocate for the assassination of foreign leaders; to stop driving these studio apartments on wheels that emit greenhouse gases, causing global warming and leading to chaotic weather patterns and superstorms like Katrina; and for the love of Him to actually practice what he preached and turn the other cheek once in a while.

And now, the Quote of the Day:

"(A father should) take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger."

- psychologist and conversion therapy advocate Joseph Nicolosi, via Dan Savage in last week's Savage Love column.

Somewhere beyond the cortex is a small voice. It's probably the ghost of Horatio Alger laughing his ass off at the irony of a father and son showering together in order to make the boy a breeder.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Notes For Monday

From the "No Shit!" Department:

- "Poor films explain box office slump", though it probably won't force the major studios to, you know, actually develop original films or put their muscle behind young, talented filmmakers.

Quote Of The Day:

"Friends, mark my inerrant words: soon, Iraq will join America in also being a brittle theocracy so bilious in partisan distain that it too will one day get civilized enough to tear the mothers of dead soldiers to pieces." - From the desk of America's Best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers

It's been a relatively slow day. I'm trying to process yesterday's breakfast conversation with Mom. It was all about power of attorney and, the enforcing of her living will should she become incapacitated, and burial arrangements. You're forced to face your own mortality when you're talking with a parent about how he or she wants to die. I vainly tried to shift the focus of the conversation back to the sausage gravy, but Mom felt it was too important to give me tips on how to get the gravy thich and free of lumps:

Mom: I want to be cremated.

Me: That's great, Mom. Do you sift the flour into the pan or do you just spoon it right in there?

Mom: And if you can find a discreet place to scatter my ashes, I'd like you to do that.

Me: Is this sage sausage?

Mom: Because I think the law forbids you to scatter ashes.

Me: Can I get your biscuit recipe, Mom?

With my stepfather's cancer episodes not fully behind him and Mom using a walker more frequently these days I don't fault her for prioritizing her arrangements. The needy child in me doesn't want to think about the day when I can't call my mother to be there (not that I call her these days). Seeing her use sheer will to struggle to move around on a bad hip she can't get replaced, because doctors feel she wouldn't survive an operation between her heart problems, hypertension, and diabetes, is frightening. And yet, as the road ahead comes to a close, she seems content. They both do.

I think evangelicals should look at my parents as an example on how to conduct their golden years with dignity and not with this pious arrogance and hypocritical influence that they're exerting.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

So, Like, Real Blogging, Eh?

Back and rested from the weekend. The wedding was great and it was wonderful to get to spend some time with the family for a weekend. Anyhoo, congratulations Anne & Pete. Sorry I did not make the jam session at Logan's in Freeport.

Quotes of the Day:

"I know people think that this is a vanity job or that I'm the guy that just brings in talent and I'm out of the office three months a year and I only come in once in while, you know, like the real president." - Jay-Z in the New York Times on his day-to-day struggles as president of Def Jam Records.

"Elvis was constantly surrounded by his entourage and I was only 17, and I'm sure they knew it." - Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, on her desire to lose her virginity to Elvis Presley. Instead, she required stitches after being deflowered by the apparently choad-packing Tom Jones.

"There will come a time – whether it’s in five months or 5 years or 50 years, I don’t know – when we’ll all have to answer the question of what we were doing when the Bush-Robertson-Coulter crowd tried to ruin America, just as earlier generations had to explain the mass hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials or McCarthyism. Cindy Sheehan and New Yorkers don’t need lectures from those that hate the values of a country whose flag they perennially wave." - Former New York Mayoral candidate Mark Green in the Huffington Post, responding to recent comments by psychotic nag Ann Coulter that New Yorkers would "surrender" to terrorists if attacked again.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Before I Leave For The Chapel

Cintra Wilson invades the White House Press Corps (from Salon, you'll have to sit through an ad to read it):

"It seemed somehow related to the Roberts nomination that there was an extra helping of snappy young Republicans humming around the White House on the 20th -- prematurely wide and matronly young women with obsolete cheerleader features dressed like Lady Bird Johnson, with tightly twisted hair and $2,000 handbags, and 20-something guys with that roundheaded military eunuch look: plastic wraparound sunglasses and boxy, off-the-rack navy-blue suits with the periwinkle-blue shirts that have become the uniform of the GOP Youth. The guys have a restless, jacked-up machismo that probably comes of venting the frustrations of abstinence in Krav Maga class, and a thumping sense of the authority and entitlement that comes with belonging to the winning team, which they call "The Party." Superclean motherfuckers -- an abrasive, stinging kind of clean, like they all just got shaken out of an icy tumbler full of Pine Sol, pumice and the New Testament."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Where The Chapel?

So I'm heading out of town this weekend to attend the wedding of my friends Anne and Pete. An wouldn't you know it I forgot to look at the registry until today?

I'm planning on a visit to Mom since she lives just over the border, on the condition that she let me bring the dog up, as well. Barring any unforseen allergies Mom may have encountered it should be alright.

My greatest fear is that my family's neuroses don't rub off on the Emmy and I have to stop every thirty miles so she can pee and run away from this man who came from a crazy family.

Should've tried to +1 the dog for the wedding instead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Maybe They'll Go The Way Of Latin And Die

The first fifteen minutes of the work day belong to you. even when I was in the Navy I never had a memo sent to me that was time-stamped "9:01". Or "0901" as it were. Those first fifteen minutes belong to you- you get coffee, gossip around the water cooler, have a smoke, maybe a quickie in a broom closet.

It's happened.

Anyway, my fifteen minutes are spent speed-reading the newspaper while waiting for beer and liquor salespeople with their hands out or a new product to sample. Sometimes I come across an article that further nudges me along the slippery slope to atheism like this one. It frightens me not just because it would further blur the already muddied line that separates church and state if Benedict XVI is indeed granted immunity as a head of state, but also allows the Vatican to police allegations of sexual abuse as it sees fit.

We already know how well that's been working.

I also fear that granting the Pope recognition as a head-of-state would further embolden the Catholic church to exert its political influence on like-minded, sympathetic governments- like the current Republican majority in Congress. Furthermore, would granting the Vatican status as an official state therefore raise every Roman Catholic archdiocese around the world to the status of embassiies and consulates? This is murky water, indeed, and I fear the President may use his "hotline to God" and grant Benedict XVI the diplomatic recognition he seeks. It more than likely would be overturned in the courts, but that's never stopped Bush from interfering whenever the name of God is involved, as evidenced by his actions during the Terri Schiavo denouement this spring.

No sooner had Benedict XVI decided to seek diplomatic regognition than he reflected on the state of Christianity in the West. It behooves the organized religions of the world to focus on developing nations to increase their flocks, since developing nations are on a long road to secular enlightenment: an educated population; fair and equal treatment for all peoples; respect for human rights and civil liberties; opportunities for all people to live a richer, freer life; and even (knockonwood) government charters with clear guidelines that lessen the influence of organized religions on how governments actually govern, like our once-unique spearation of church and state.

Protestant religions recognized this decades ago and tailored their rhetoric accordingly. Witness in this country the stranglehold a small number of religious zealots have on the political party that was once defined by its ability to be inclusive and socially progressive. It is nothing short of religious persecution: it's subtle to the point of seeming nonexistent, but persecution nonetheless. The opportunity to worship God without fear of government reprisal was one of the catalysts that brought the early settlers to the Americas from colonial Europe. With no new worlds to flee toward we have no choice but to stand our ground and defend what the Forefathers stood for.

Bad Dialogue... But It's A Start

  • Someone named Rachel Mills weighs in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on her weblog. The comments after the post are what you should be checking out there. About fifteen responses in it turns into a crash course on the underlying tensions in the region so that hopefully the assumed libertarian-minded Ms. Mills doesn't resort to Fox News cliches in future posts on the subject. Maybe the next time she feels the need to write about how Allah took an "advanced civilization at the time of Muhammed to a complete and utter standstill" she would be wise to remember our President's stance on stem cell research, womens' reproductive rights, same-sex marriages, "intelligent design", and his own presumed hotline to God (ten paragraphs in).

  • Must be a slow news month: Conservative "pundit"- a term used loosely- Debbie Schulssel apparently waited until Peter Jennings was unable to defend himself (read: dead from lung cancer) so that she could smear him as a tool of the liberal media and an al Qaeda sympathizer. The columns Schlussel pimped, and was rightly ridiculed by Artie Lange, this morning on Howard Stern's radio show make the mudslinging of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin appear downright respectable. There's only one reason that Howard Stern allows Debbie Schlussel on the air:

Between that headshot and the Jennings slanders I think Schlussel qualifies to be a Stern Show "wack-packer", don't you? She looks like someone who did her own hair and makeup for a Glamour Shots shoot because she didn't want to look tacky. That's a color I've only seen on strippers and lead singers for 80's hair metal bands.

This photo reminds me of these words of wisdom from the late Frank Zappa:

"I want a nasty little Jewish Princess
With long phony nails and a hairdo that rinses
A horny little Jewish Princess
With a garlic aroma that could level Tacoma."

There's nothing wrong with pundits like Schlussel, Malkin, and Coulter that can't be solved with a little rough assplay.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Price of Fame... Unrealized At This Time

This couple started a weblog in order to enhance their chances of being contestants on "Fear Factor."

That's not a misread.

"Fear Factor."

Mark Lisanti at Defamer summarizes it nicely:

"They want help getting attention for their campaign to win the opportunity to gobble as many rooster testicles, bison boners, and llama anuses as their stomachs can handle in 60 seconds, then suffer Joe Rogan’s smug giggles when they inevitably vomit?” Then we realized it’s not nice to laugh at self-destructive impulses that we don’t understand, so we’ll wish them luck, hoping that the thought of the million dollar prize helps them keep down that nasty goulash of animal junk as they’re being dropped off a skyscraper in a Ford Focus. Godspeed, etc etc."

I say you play to your strengths. If your mind isn't a depository of useless minutiae you don't try out for "Jeopardy."

I also found this wonderful little game through Defamer. Makes me long for those Old "Bob Newhart" drinking games we played in school.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Remember When "Spam" Was An Acronym For "Pork Shoulder And Ham"?

First Item: Dig that fucking caipirinha up there. When made properly that's what it should look like. And it doesn't taste too bad, either.

So this found its way through my e-mail filters this morning. Since I don't have the patience to edit the grammatical errors so we'll just make this message one large (SIC) Those of you who aren't quick on the uptake please DO NOT RESPOND TO THE E-MAIL ADDRESS LISTED BELOW AS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE "EURO PHIL LOTTERY!!":

From: Euro Phil Lottery.
Ref. Nnumbe: 132/756/4509

Batch Number: 538901527-Bc68


We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International
programs held on the 13th of August 2005. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 27-522-46-58-96-6453 with serial number 3772-554 drew lucky numbers 7-14-18-23-31-45 which consequently won in the 2nd category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$ 1,000,000 (One Million United States Dollars) CONGRATULATIONS!!! Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money Remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants.All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 company and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world.This promotional program takes place every three year. This lottery was promoted and sponsored by eminent personalities like Bill Gates and the Sultan of Brunei, we hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year USD50 million international lottery.To file for your claim, please contact our fiducial agent Mr.Tommy Peter AND Assoclates BELGIUM. Telephone :+0032-49-737-9923 GENT. Reply all winning must be claimed not later than 31th of August 2005. After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake.Please note in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence.Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible. Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.



Sincerely yours,

MR Tommy Peter.

Lottery Coordinator.

'Course, it's a scam. But that won't stop some mouth breather with the ability to dial thirteen numbers in succession to call the number and give these scammers all of his financial information, only to find that his bank account has been sucked dry.

What amazes me is that the elderly fall for this constantly. The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story four years ago about how former Mayor Eugene Sawyer fell for a similar scam (to be fair, he didn't fall for an internet scam, but it was a confidence game nonetheless). This was the mayor of the third-largest city in the nation and lost over $400,000 to a con artist.

Is this what I have to look forward to when I retire? I'll bust my ass while I'm able-bodied in order to enjoy my twilight with some measure of comfort only to have someone named "MR Tommy Peter" steal my pension because I won a lottery that I didn't remember entering? Or give some hack my savings because I fear I might not have enough should I live past seventy?

I hope not.


Went to Carol's Pub yesterday to catch the Waco Brothers and Devil In A Woodpile at the odd start time of 3 p.m. The only thing missing was a stage enclosed in chicken wire to protect the band if the crowd decided to throw beer bottles at the stage.

I'm still amazed that Wacos managed to fit on that stage. The certainly did not do so comfortably. Langford in particular felt restrained by the tight quarters, but by the end of the set threw caution to the wind like the punk rocking Welsh bastard that he is and was throwing high kicks with abandon. The mannish-looking bartender with wide hips perfect for child bearing and the Waylon Jennings "outlaw" mullet really seemed to be enjoying herself. But that was probably because she wasn't having to break up any fights.

After pounding back bourbon all afternoon in the dank recesses of Carol's when we headed outside we forgot that it was still in daytime. Suddenly two hundred people are shielding their eyes like moles having their first collective encounter with the sun. I think I actually heard someone squeal when the sunlight her eyes, but it more likely was the bourbon affecting me.

Afterward we went to the newly opened Swim Cafe in the East Village, where I had an amazing paniini and coffee. The perfect tonic for an afternoon of drinking.

In hindsight, the whole day felt like I closed down two places at four a.m.


Saturday, August 06, 2005


Via Scott Smith at Chicagoist, check out this link about former Creed vocalist Scott Stapp trying to get some pussy at a Denny's in Gainesville, Florida.

Just received my latest copy of Oxford American in the mail this week. This one was even more special as it was the music issue, which comes with a companion cd. The cd from last music issue I received two years back- the OA has had a couple publishing hiatuses since then- is one of my favorite cds in my library. It's a wonderful hodgepodge of country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, soul, rock, and pop music, featuring Little Milton (a pause for rememberance), Esther Phillips, Willie Nelson, My Morning Jacket, Del McCoury, Swamp Dogg, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Memphis Minnie, and Marilyn Monroe.

The companion cd for this one contains a passionate live reading of "Suspicious Minds" by elvis Presley. recorded August, 1969- roughly a week before "before "Suspicious Minds" was released as a single- it's six-and-a-half minutes of drama as elvis leads the band in the signature rise-and-fall of the song. It's almost as though he and the band were indeed "caught in a trap" and can't get out.

Go buy the magazine. You won't be disappointed.

The image above is of the classical composer Moondog, also on the Oxford American companion cd. He was a ardent student of "perfect counterpoint." Credit of thiat image goes to the "Moondog's Corner" site.